For the past eight months, the hopes of the victims of September 2014 floods and the coalition government hinged on the relief and rehabilitation package from the centre.
On Saturday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the economic package, it has disappointed them. Though the centre is yet to give break-up of the package, the broader contours outlined by J&K Finance minister Haseeb Drabu reveals that the victims of 2014 floods would get less than rupees 8000 crores.
“Rupees 8000 crore have been earmarked for humanitarian relief including rehabilitation of people affected by the floods (last year),” Drabu was quoted saying by the official spokesperson.
The J&K government had submitted a proposal of rupees 44000 crores to the centre for rehabilitation of flood victims and to rebuild the infrastructure damaged by the floods.
“This is a cruel joke,” said Ghulam Nabi, a resident of Jawahar Nagar. “For all these months, they (government) were telling us that the package is coming. This is peanuts when compared to the extent of damages caused by the floods”.
Giving the broad outlines of the package state Finance minister Drabu said that the rupees 34000 crores announced by the Prime minister for up-gradation of Srinagar-Jammu national highway would be “in addition” to the rupees 80000 crores announced by the Prime Minister. “It will also be over and above the rupees 30000 crore normal annual plan assistance given to the state,” he said.
Naming the economic package as TAMEIR – Urdu word for construction – (The Aggregative Macro Economic Infrastructure Rebuilding) Drabu said that rupees 60000 crores have been earmarked for the “new infrastructure projects” in the state sector and around 7000 crores have been earmarked for ongoing projects in the state. “The economic package has five components including humanitarian relief, disaster management, social infrastructure and developmental spending,” Drabu revealed.
Drabu said the economic package announced by Prime Minister Modi “is to be spent over next five years” and would not only rejuvenate the flood-hit state economy but create huge job opportunities as well.
The state Finance minister termed Prime Minister Modi’s remark that Rs 80000 is not the limit but a beginning a “commendable gesture” towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir.